Speech Reconnaissance

This year the speech industry continued to make the technological advances that will soon make speech recognition a mainstream business and personal productivity tool. This year’s SpeechTEK exhibition and conference was the largest ever and attracted more national media attention to the speech industry than any event in the last several years. Increasingly people know what speech recognition is, what it can do, and how close it is to becoming a day to day reality in many people’s lives. It is not regarded as science fiction any longer. If you tell someone you are involved in speech recognition, the response now is much more likely to be "on, I’ve heard of that," rather than "What the *%&# is that?" (Not all words should be recognized.) The SpeechTEK show proved speech is accepted as an interface with computers and telephones and is critical to such platforms as wearable computers and consumer electronics. Several companies now produce hand held devices which allow people to record conversations and later, at their convenience, produce written computer driver documents. Following SpeechTEK, the next mail speech related event is the January CES show in Las Vegas, where Speech Technology will be the sponsor of a pavilion devoted to speech recognition in consumer electronics. Emkay Innovative Products, IBM, Philips and Voice Signal Technologies are among the speech companies taking part. For a glimpse at the upcoming speech event in 1999, see our calendar in this issue. CES attendees will see what speech specialists have known for some time. Speech is the best way to access computer power without being tied to the computer. Out article on hand-held recording devices, Speech on the Go, as well as Peter Fleming’s review column, gives readers some idea of how dramatically speech recognition has progressed in this area. We also continue our look at advanced interfaces with a look at the latest developments in handwriting recognition in Dotting the I’s and Crossing the T’s. Speech has taken some remarkable strides forward in 1998, as this issue reflects. The path is clear for an even brighter future.
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